Michele Bachmann is no Sarah Palin. Not, at least, in the action figure business.
Since HeroBuilders, a manufacturer of action figures, unveiled its plastic likeness of Bachmann late last month, it has sold just 50 copies.
By comparison, within 24 hours of rolling out its Palin figure last year, it sold 10,000 of them.
"I'd say 50 is not that bad," said Emil Vicale, owner of the Oxford, Conn., firm. "She's probably going to be a steady seller because I've got a feeling she's just gotten started in front of the media."
Bachmann's news media ubiquity as a conservative voice on television has catapulted her profile far beyond the confines of Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District.
It was, in fact, her talk show presence that brought her to Vicale's attention a few months ago.
"I've got two TVs in the office, one tuned to CNN, the other to Fox," he said. "When you find those two networks doing a story on the same person, you know the world's aligning around that person. She's gotten a lot of spotlight time."
Besides, Vicale said, "she's hot -- no, no, I shouldn't say that."
Among the scores of political action figures produced by HeroBuilders, about 50 are replicas of political figures and sales of Bachmann's are in line with most of the others.
The Bachmann figure, dressed in a business suit, costs $34.95. Most of the 50 have been shipped to Minnesota, Vicale said. "So far, she's no Sarah Palin," he added.
Sales of the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate are second only, he said, to a replica of "Baghdad Bob," the buffoonish one-time Iraqi information minister.
This isn't the only pop culture coup scored this fall by Bachmann. She's Miss November on a 2010 calendar highlighting conservative women, the only member of Congress to be featured.
Her office is taking the action figure in stride -- along with the paltry sales. According to Bachmann's spokesman Dave Dziok, "with Washington sucking every last dime out of taxpayers' pockets and draining the economy of every last nickel, we're not terribly surprised that people don't have money to spend on these toys."
BOB VON STERNBERG